Hello! I'm Kirsty and I am the School Chaplain here at Ferny Grove State High School. The chaplaincy service in this community has a long legacy that I hope to continue and build upon. I commenced the role at Ferny Grove in mid-2022 from a background of mental health nursing. My passion is to champion and encourage young people, and to come alongside their families and the community to support them on their journey.
I see the foundations of the chaplaincy role as someone supports, empowers and encourages all members of the school community in order to make their experience here at Ferny the best it can be. My aim as a chaplain is to be a safe person within the school that people can come to when they need a helping hand or would just like to have a chat. I aim to serve the individual needs of each person I come into contact with, whether that is a student, parent, community member, or staff. I have supported students and their families struggling in various situations including family concerns, confusing relationships, friendship issues, peer pressure, self-esteem issues, bullying, depression, spiritual and worldview questions, school struggles, and more. This is usually done through one-on-one appointments, more info on how you can organise an appointment is at the bottom of this page.
I am very grateful to work here at Ferny within our Student Support Service Team (SSS Team). This team is made up of one of our Deputy Principals, Guidance Officers, School-based Youth Health Nurse, Social Worker, Defence Transition Mentor, Youth Support Coordinators, Community Engagement Coordinator, myself. As a chaplain, I engage with all staff members, but work closely with the Deputy Principals, SEP (Special Education Program) Department, Year Level Coordinators, Head of Junior and Senior Schooling and Administration staff in order to provide the best support possible.
The chaplaincy service has ran a variety of programs that take place throughout the year, each with their own unique focus and structure. Programs include potential enhancement courses, life skills and social skills development, and some groups that look at some of the bigger (sometimes more in-depth) questions in life. The programs work through values such as trust, respect, resilience, commitment, responsibility, and self-esteem, helping students explore and integrate these (and more!) into their lives and daily choices. We try to use action-based learning as much as we can, which is designed to help students not only learn, but actually experience these values too.
I love to be involved in everyday life here at Ferny Grove, including various performances, shows and events, year level camps, specialty camps, class excursions, classroom sport, sports carnivals, plus being involved in aim and access lessons, and just generally walking around at lunchtimes. My hope is that through all of this, I am able to build connections and be available to talk to and provide support for students when needed. In collaboration with some local churches, we also run regular chappy breakfasts where we provide our students with free pancakes before school, listen to music, and play some games with the aim of enhancing the sense of community within our school.
Want to get involved?
Local Chaplaincy Committee
As part of the Chaplaincy Service here at Ferny Grove SHS, we hold regular Local Chaplaincy Committee (LCC) meetings across each term. The aim of the LCC is to engage the community in the Chaplaincy Service and to be actively involved in fundraising, direction and assistance for the chaplain, programs, and the service as a whole. The great thing about chaplaincy is that it is a community initiative, so we encourage community engagement as much as possible. If you would like to be involved in the LCC committee, or would like more information, please let me know via my contact details below.
I send out a supporter's newsletter each term giving an update on what is happening in the chaplaincy service here at Ferny. This is a great way to keep informed about the chaplaincy service and if ways to get involved. If you would like to be added to this mailing list, please shoot me an email.
My office is located up in the Support Services Block (M Block). Students can come and visit before school, during break times and after school to make an appointment. This can be to have a chat, or to just hang out during breaks. As you can imagine this job requires me to be out of the office quite a bit, so if I'm not in the office, students can write a note, slip it under the door and I will get back to them as soon as I can. Participation in all chaplaincy activities, programs and conversations is completely voluntary and permission will be asked for when required. Please feel free to get in contact with us by calling the Administration Office (3550 5777) and asking for the Chaplain, or via my details below. You may also wish to contact Jane Vanelli, Deputy Principal and Support Services line manager, if you have any further questions/concerns by also calling the main Administration Office on (3550 5777).
Monday to Friday
3550 5777 / email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org